Nestled in the Berkeley Hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay, Cragmont City Park has several rock outcroppings and a number of good climbs up to 40 feet high. It is high quality serpentine rock with edges, cracks and huecos. Half the routes are slabby (less than vertical) while the other half are vertical to overhanging providing a good variety of challenges and styles. Most routes are bolt protected top ropes with the occasional tree or boulder to access or backup the bolts. . Routes range from 5.6 to 5.10.
Located along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park is a treasure of diversity and wilderness that is seldom seen next to a large metropolitan area. Castle Rock offers the largest concentration of climbing in the Bay Area. Scattered throughout this forested park along Skyline Boulevard are over a dozen rock formations ranging in size from 40 to 100 feet tall. The rock is sandstone, and offers mostly face climbing with the occasional crack. Erosion has created caves, pockets, and bizarre "swiss-cheese-like" formations. Though some of the rock is gritty, the climbing routes are for the most part clean and solid. Castle Rock is ideal for beginners and experts alike. Best in spring and fall seasons. Typical climbing routes range in difficulty from 5.5 - 5.10.
Pinnacles National Monument is located approximately 35 miles south of Hollister, and about 135 miles south of Berkeley, California. In the Monument, rock outcroppings are scattered on the steep hillsides and river paths. The rock is volcanic brecea and resembles steep knobby walls somewhat similar to indoor climbing gyms. Most climbs are top-rope protected with bolts and range from 5.6 to 5.12.
There are two sides to the Park - East and West. The best climbing and rock quality are found on the Eastside where MAS holds its rock climbing programs. It is not possible to drive through the Park so it is important to get proper directions beforehand.
There is good camping nearby at the developed campsites at the Pinnacles Campground on the eastern side of the Monument. A small general store and coin operated shower are appreciated after a good day of climbing. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended on the weekends. Best seasons are spring and fall.
Nestled into the Western Sierra Nevada foothills near the town of Placerville, you will find these granite river gorge gems. The climbing is varied from short sport routes, demanding cracks and multi pitch traditional lines. With over 100 routes on many different formations, there are many days of climbing for people of all abilities. This is an excellent place to set your first gear protection, work on your crack climbing techniques and simply enjoy some great granite. Best in spring and fall or sunny winter days. Routes vary from 5.6 to 5.10.
Bear Valley is the home of MAS. Numerous rock climbing sites, some of which are only 10 minutes walking distance from our office, are located in our backyard. Locals fondly refer to Bear Valley as "the land of half-pitch climbs" as most climbs are no higher than 100 feet tall. This characteristic, plus the lack of crowds, makes Bear Valley an excellent climbing instruction location. The rock climbing is on solid granite with both face and crack climbs. While some bolts exist most anchors are built from gear and the climbing difficulty ranges from 5.5 to 5.11. Perfect summer and autumn destination.
Lovers Leap is likely the best moderate multi-pitch climbing site in California. 300 - 600 foot granite cliffs rise dramatically above the American River and Highway 50 in the South Lake Tahoe region. Unique to the area are horizontal dikes which make even the steep routes attainable for most climbers. Easy access, good camping make this area popular. MAS offers many mid-week programs at Lovers Leap to help avoid the crowds. Early summer through autumn seasons.
Phantom Spires is in the neighborhood of Lovers Leap and offers a sunny alternative to the more northern aspects of Lovers Leap. The climbing is steep and clean on three granite spires with both high quality crack and face climbs. There are even opportunities to experience and practice multi-pitch climbs in the 5.6 - 5.10 range. One fun challenge of the area is to climb and summit all three spires. Early summer through autumn seasons.
Sugarloaf is a favorite winter climbing site in the South Lake Tahoe region. Located at 4000 feet near the small town of Kyburz on Highway 50, Sugarloaf offers a mix of single and multi-pitch routes up to 350 feet long. The rock is clean granite with both crack and face climbs.
This little gem of a climbing destination is in fact quite large. There are two main climbing domes (Calaveras & Hammer Dome) in the area with other smaller crags located nearby. Calaveras Dome is the largest feature and hosts high quality multi-pitch routes up to 1100 feet long. Calaveras Dome requires stamina and strong outdoor climbing skills. People often warm-up on Hammer Dome before attempting the longer routes on Calaveras Dome.
The easiest route up Calaveras Dome is "Sands of Time" (5.9 Grade IV) with both physical crack systems and delicate face climbing. Many parties only climb the first 6 pitches before Rappeling back to the base, but some ambitious and efficient climbers complete the full route at 12 pitches.
Another Calaveras classic is "Wall of the Worlds" (5.10c Grade IV) which starts with an amazing splitter crack for two pitches (5.10a, 5.10b). Next, a technical crux traverse pitch (5.10c) puts climbers at an exposed belay station with 2 more pitches of great 5.9 crack climbing ahead. Higher up, the route leaves the upper dihedrals and moves onto the face where knobs and dikes are linked for another two pitches of wild 5.9 face climbing. The remaining three optional pitches are 5.8, 5.7 and 5.6 respectively. Descent is by Rappeling the route.
Spring and Fall are the preferred climbing seasons for both Calaveras and Hammer Dome as the elevation is only 4,000 feet and temperature can get high. Most campsites are alongside the scenic Mokelumne River and offer semi-primative facilities with pit toilets and no running water. See course description PDF's for further details.
Hammer Dome is located directly across from Calaveras Dome and hosts many multi-pitch routes up to 600 feet tall. Climbing routes follow both crack systems and bolt protected faces in the 5.7 - 5.10 range. All climbs require rappels to descend. The high quality granite and views of the Mokelumne River and Calaveras Dome are spectacular.
Some notable routes are "Wings & Stings" (5.7 Grade II) and "Gemini Cracks" (5.9 Grade III). "Wings & Stings" is dominated by a huge arching dihedral that delivers sustained 5.7 lieback, jams and smears. Upon reaching the victory jug at the end of the dihedral you will be ready for a rest at the exposed hanging belay station.
"Gemini Cracks" is Hammer Dome's classic route. 6 pitches of face and crack climbing ascending the center of the dome providing the most direct line to the top. The double crack system on pitch five is a steep and memorable 5.8 splitter crack.
Although this peak is not a good replica of the famous Swiss mountain, it is known as one the best alpine rock climbs in the High Sierra. We are aiming for the North Arete (5.7 Grade III) to climb a series of cracks and corner systems which lead directly to the summit and highest point of the Sawtooth Range at 12,279 feet. This trip is a blend of rock and mountaineering skills as the use of crampons and ice axe are needed to cross a small glacier and climb a steep snow slope to access the base of the climb.
The rock quality starts off a little dubious on fractured granite then gets better with each pitch. During the final couple pitches the rock quality is superb, the scenery spectacular, and the climbing sustained and challenging. The views from the top are redeeming!
This route requires a big approach which climbs 4,500 feet in about 6 miles. For this reason MAS offers this program over 2 days. Some folks may even want to consider a three day private trip to lessen the workload per day. Basecamp is established at a beautiful alpine tarn one mile from the base of the climb.
For the 2006 climbing season MAS has obtained a commercial guiding permit at this famous and world renowned desert sandstone climbing destination.